Vibrant, Tropical LBGTQ Destination Wedding | Hilton Clearwater Beach
Wedding

Vibrant, Tropical Destination Wedding | Hilton Clearwater Beach

Michelle and Heather's destination Clearwater Beach wedding featured a colorful daydream set in a tropical paradise. Inspired by their love for rainbows, the couple prioritized creating an amazing guest experience for their loved ones, while vibrancy played a central role in the design of the day.

“[Our wedding inspiration was] bright and vibrant colors to create a laid-back, but classy atmosphere for our guests. We wanted to go with colors that we love, versus what's really trendy currently,” Heather shared. “We both love the color blue and knew we had to incorporate it; Michelle's favorite color is orange which was used for the florals.”

After spending several vacations in Tampa Bay visiting Michelle's dad, the Ohio couple selected Clearwater Beach for their spring destination wedding. The pair and their out-of-state wedding planner turned to Marry Me Tampa Bay to research and select their venue and vendors.

“Our wedding planner, Melissa Kress, at Oak + Honey Event Planning Co. helped us find all of our vendors,” Heather explained. “Because Melissa is from Ohio, she used Marry Me Tampa Bay as a guide. It helped us select the venue, flowers, and which vendors are LGBTQ friendly.

Hilton Clearwater Beach's tropical atmosphere and proximity to Pier 60 made it the perfect location for their 85-guest wedding. The beachfront May ceremony took place on Clearwater's iconic white sand and incorporated a Celtic handfasting tradition.

“Since I'm from California and Michelle's from Ohio, we always wanted to have a destination wedding in a beautiful city. We wanted to get married on the beach with an outdoor reception. We wanted our guests to have the convenience of everything in one place, so they could relax and not worry about finding transportation and additional travel. The Hilton Clearwater Beach offered all of our events; our rehearsal dinner, wedding, and brunch the day after our wedding at the hotel,” the bride detailed. “We chose the Hilton because of the gorgeous Sandpiper Terrace which opens up to the beach, and our ceremony and cocktail hour were just steps away. We wanted our out-of-town guests to have a vacation of their own, so it was important to us that everything be in close vicinity with no additional travel. The service was top-notch, and everyone was so nice and accommodating.”

After the couple exchanged vows, guests enjoyed an open-air reception that showcased Florida's stunning sunsets while they dinned and danced under the romantic market lighting. Three meal stations were available that featured tacos, pasta, and prime rib.

The tablescape brought a vibrancy to the decor with exotic florals, gold Chiavari chairs from A Chair Affair, and elegant tabletop decorations from Kate Ryan Event Rentals.

“We wanted rentals that matched our laid-back but elevated vibe. Kate Ryan Event Rentals provided all of our beautiful tableware: flatware, blue vintage water glasses, and placemats. They pieced together the perfect vibe we were after,” Heather beamed. “A Chair Affair rentals provided us with the seating area for our guests.”

As Heather and Michelle looked back fondly on their weekend wedding experience, it was hearing their wedding speeches that left them feeling loved and cherished.

“Our sisters' toasts were the most memorable. Michelle's sister, Melissa, and Heather's sister, Mary Jo, each delivered the sweetest, heartfelt, funny, and loving toasts we could've imagined,” the bride reminisced.

Vibrant Waterfront Wedding Venue Hilton Clearwater Beach
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Blue Ombre Wedding Invitation Suite, Green and Beige Vows Books, Bridal Wedding Accessories, Diamond Engagement Rings, Royal Blue Wedding Sandals with Crystal Rhinestones
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Diamond Engagement Ring in Royal Blue Velvet Ring Box, Pink, Yellow, Red, and Purple Floral Bouquet
Vibrant Blue Same Sex Wedding, Bride Writing Letter
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Bride Getting Wedding Ready Getting Dress Buttoned Up
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Brides First Look Wedding Portrait | Waterfront Wedding Venue Hilton Clearwater Beach

The Proposal:
We were headed to a family get-together in the Erie, PA area. Michelle took a surprise detour to the beach, to take our babies (dogs), Daisy and Stevie, for a walk along the water. Michelle surprised me with the sweetest proposal!

Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding Ceremony Decor, Yellow and Pink Flowers with Greenery and Blue Thistle Floral Arrangement on Chair
Vibrant Colorful Wedding Ceremony Decor, Circular Round Arch with Greenery, Orange and Yellow Roses, Pink Flowers, Greenery
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding Ceremony, Brides Doing Unity Ceremony, Geometric Wooden Arch with Lush Yellow, Pink, Orange and Greenery Floral Arrangements | Waterfront Wedding Venue Hilton Clearwater Beach
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding Reception Brides Exit

What did you look for in a wedding venue? 

Since I'm from California and Michelle's from Ohio, we always wanted to have a destination wedding in a beautiful city. We wanted to get married on the beach with an outdoor reception. We wanted our guests to have the convenience of everything in one place, so they could relax and not worry about finding transportation and additional travel.

The Hilton Clearwater Beach offered all of our events; our rehearsal dinner, wedding, and brunch the day after our wedding at the hotel. We chose the Hilton because of the gorgeous Sandpiper Terrace which opens up to the beach, and our ceremony and cocktail hour were just steps away. We wanted our out-of-town guests to have a vacation of their own, so it was important to us that everything be in close vicinity with no additional travel. The service was top-notch, and everyone was so nice and accommodating. Our guests were very complimentary of the service they received, and the fun attitudes of the employees.

All of the food at our wedding was delicious from the appetizers to the meal. The Hilton provided a Mexican station with pork and chicken tacos, an Italian station with creamy pesto and bolognese pasta, and a carving station serving sliced prime rib. We were so happy with the food, and so many guests raved about how delicious it was. They kept going back for seconds and thirds!

Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Pink Orchids, Yellow Pincushions, Orange Roses, Greenery, Palm Leaves Floral Bouquet
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Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Brides on Clearwater Beach Wedding Portrait
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Brides on Clearwater Beach Wedding Portrait
Vibrant Colorful Wedding Reception Decor, Long Tables with Tall Gold Stands and Lush Greenery, Red and Orange Roses, Pink Orchids, Eucalyptus, Floral Centerpieces | Tampa Bay Wedding Rentals A Chair Affair | Kate Ryan Event Rentals

How would you describe your theme/wedding design inspiration?
Bright and vibrant colors to create a laid-back, but classy atmosphere for our guests. We wanted to go with colors that we love, versus what's really trendy currently. We both love the color blue and knew we had to incorporate it; Michelle's favorite color is orange which was used for the florals.

What were your colors? 
Bold shades of blue, with pops of pinks, yellows, and oranges.

Vibrant Colorful Wedding Reception Decor, Small Floral Centerpiece, Red Roses, Yellow Pincushion Proteas, Greenery, Blue Thistle, Purple Flower Centerpiece
Vibrant Colorful Wedding Reception Decor, Natural Braided Grass Charger Plate, Dusty Blue Linen Napkin, White and Gold Silverware | Tampa Bay Wedding Rentals Kate Ryan Event Rentals

What did you look for in a wedding rental company?

We wanted rentals that matched our laid-back but elevated vibe. Kate Ryan Event Rentals provided all of our beautiful tableware: flatware, blue vintage water glasses, and placemats. They pieced together the perfect vibe we were after.

A Chair Affair rentals provided us with the seating area for our guests.

Vibrant Colorful Wedding Reception, Three Tier Blue and White Buttercream Textured Wedding Cake, Yellow and Red Roses with Pink Flower Cake Topper
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding Cake with Red, Yellow and Orange Rose and Pink Peony Flower Cake Topper
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Lesbian Wedding Reception, Brides Dancing on White Sand Beach with String Lights | Wedding Venue Hilton Clearwater Beach
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Brides Dancing in Empty Reception Room
Vibrant Colorful Same Sex Wedding, Brides Sitting on Blue Velvet Couch with Lush Greenery, Pink, Yellow, Orange Floral Bouquet, Neon Custom Sign Backdrop | Tampa Bay Wedding Rentals Kate Ryan Event Rentals, A Chair Affair

Which vendors really exceeded your expectations?
Our florist went above and beyond our vision for florals. She was recommended by the Hilton and is there often. She was so patient, and kind, and knocked it out of the park.

What advice would you give to other Tampa Bay couples?
Our wedding planner, Oak + Honey, made all the difference in having a successful destination wedding. Michelle and I didn't have to lift a finger and didn't worry about a single thing that day because our planner took care of everything so we could relax and enjoy our big day together. Hire a wedding planner to help you hand select vendors!

Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Vendor Credits

 

Marry Me Tampa Bay Preferred Wedding Pros

Preferred Marry Me Tampa Bay Wedding Pros are highly respected by our local wedding community and have been personally vetted by our editor.